Food Made Simple

Kombucha Made Simple

Posted on January 7, 2017. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , |

A small bottle of kombucha at the store is $2.99!  A whole gallon homemade costs me maybe $1!

First ferment is a pot of organic tea and a cup of organic cane sugar added to the gallon jar and filled with cool filtered water. Then check the temperature to make sure it’s 110 degrees or lower and add  the scoby with a cup or so of old batch.   When the second scoby has been formed you are ready – about 10 days. You can drink now or do a second ferment.

Different colors are due to the amount of green tea vs. black tea I used.

I do this in individual bottles and I add small pieces of candied  ginger and /or fruit juices and syrups I make. Wait another 10 days for a new tiny scoby to form, cap tightly and refrigerate. Enjoy! It tastes great and fuels the microbiome in our guts. A nice side benefit is you get great tasting drinks for really, really cheap!

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Fermenting for Health

Posted on January 3, 2016. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , |


Today I teach a class on the healthy human microbiome.  That is the 3-4 pounds of microscopic organisms which inhabit our digestive tract, mouth, nose, ears, and the entire exterior surface of our bodies.

Often overlooked as we do things to damage this crucial organ, the microbiome does everything from digesting our food to keeping us happy.  Antibiotics use, stress, gluten, sugar, and junk food consumption all lead to an unhealthy microbiome.

But you can change all that by consuming healthy foods including naturally fermented foods.  These traditional foods have huge doses of additional species to help keep us healthy.  Plus they taste good!  Here’s a link to a recipe for Latin American Curtido Kraut which is especially yummy due to the addition of jalapeños!

I’ve been making yogurt, homemade rootbeer and ginger ale, curtido and other fermented vegetables for awhile now.  My favorite website to get supplies is Cultures for Health.  I get no reward for mentioning them here.  I do like to give a pat on the back, though, to great organizations and this is one of them!

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Peanut Butter Balls for Dogs

Posted on November 30, 2015. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Peanut Butter Balls and Charlie

We’ve gone gluten-free at our house, even the dogs!  Here is an easy treat recipe that they gobble up like no tomorrow.

Peanut Butter Balls for Dogs

16 oz. jar smooth natural or organic peanut butter (no sweeteners or other ingredients, just peanuts and salt perhaps.)
1/4 C. wheatgrass powder
3/8 C. coconut flour (or so, you can add more or less to make a stiff dough)
3/8 C. ground flaxseed

Mix all together in a bowl either by hand or with electric stand mixer.  Keep in the refrigerator.  Make balls as necessary.  (You can taste them and even eat them with your dog; all human food-grade ingredients.)

If these ingredients seem odd-ball to you, just look on, you can find them all.  And, yes, peanut butter,  coconut flour, wheatgrass, and flaxseed are all good for dogs!


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Eating in Barcelona

Posted on June 26, 2015. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Spain | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Spain Tapas 1Tapas in Barcelona are definitely designed for the tourists.  Everything has a toothpick in it.  Grab a plate take what you want, save the toothpicks.  When finished take the plate with the toothpicks back and they charge you accordingly.  It’s a good system, the bites are interesting and not too expensive, if a little contrived, everything on top of a piece of white bread.  Madrid’s tapas bars were definitely less polished, more like actual little local joints where each specialized in something special and delectable.  Barcelona’s tapas were pretty much the same no matter which place we chose.

Our first day or 2 we did quite a bit of eating at these places.  But we were hungry for some authenticity.  And we had a whole kitchen back at the apartment!  We started scoping out markets.  Of course we went to La Boqueria on las ramblas, probably the most famous market in Barcelona.  We took the guidebook’s advice and avoided the sellers near the entrance to get deep into the place and find the less tourist-oriented merchants.

Spain la boqueria                 Spain fish seller

We found the discount-fishmonger there.  If you would buy the whole piece of whatever fish he had you would get an amazing price!  It took a bit of stretching my knowledge of Spanish to get this understanding, but once my brain connected the dots we cashed in.  So for 2 nights in a row we went and bought the whole hunk of tuna the guy had.  For about $20 we gorged on fresh tuna for several meals!  It was a fun find.

Spain fish seller 2          DSC07945

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Blueberry Pancakes

Posted on March 10, 2015. Filed under: Breakfast Made Simple, Food Made Simple | Tags: , , , , , , |

Blueberry pancakes

Pancakes, Easy

1.5 C. flour

3 t. baking powder

1 t. salt

1 T. white sugar

1.25 C. milk

1 egg

3 T. melted butter

So, let’s talk pancakes today!  Above is my standard recipe, but today I made changes.  I used .5 C of 3 different flours to get the 1.5 total (oat flour, unbleached wheat, and spelt) AND I found canned blueberries at Aldi.  I also eliminated the sugar, milk, and butter.  Instead I used some pure maple syrup and 1/2 can coconut milk mixed with water to make about the same amount of liquid.  Then I got the cast iron skillet coated in farm lard and butter and really hot.  Then I poured in some batter and then placed the blueberries in, dotting them all over.

The nice thing about this recipe is it is very adaptable.  The blueberries were juicy and soft and worked really well here.  Give it a try!


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My New-to-Me Spatula (Flipper/Turner)

Posted on June 22, 2014. Filed under: Breakfast Made Simple, Food Made Simple | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


At nearly 6 inches across, my rummage sale find of a spatula is quite impressive!  I’ve always wanted one of these, but just never found one that seems just right.  The brand new ones always have longer handles and seem unwieldy.  This one, found just last week at our local Humane Society rummage sale, has a nice short handle, with a very dense, wood-like handle with smooth rivets to hold the metal.  It feels good in the hand – always an important criterion for a hand tool of any sort.  This vintage version was worth waiting for.

Trying it out on pancakes yesterday morning was a revelation.  Such ease to accomplish the flipping task!  Each whole cake fully supported – nice!  I think this will be great for fish fillets too.  It was definitely worth the $1 price tag and the space in the drawer.

Pancakes Made Simple

1.5 C. flour

2 t. baking powder

1 t. salt

1 T. white sugar

1.25 C. milk

1 egg

3 T. melted butter

Sometimes I use a variety of flours.  Yesterday was a combination of spelt and corn flours.  Also, I skipped the melted butter and just used watered down cream for the milk which held plenty of fat.  That way the recipe comes together super quick.  This recipe is very adaptable to lots of variations!

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Quail Eggs

Posted on May 27, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Just Fun | Tags: , , , , , |

quail egg

Keeping with the egg theme, I thought I’d show you a quail egg I bought at the farm the other day.  This was a new food to me.  They are adorable little orbs, tan with brown spots and flecks.  They are hard to crack with tough little shells, but once you do you have a perfectly miniature little egg complete with yolk and white just as you’d expect.  They are quite tasty too!  It’s fun to find and try something new.  The lady at the farm sniffed a little when I asked her if she’d tried them and if so, how she liked them.  “I would never pay that price for eggs, usually just people who are allergic to chicken eggs buy them!”  Oh for goodness sake, you sell them at your farm stand and you have never had the curiosity to try them?  I find that very strange!

By the way, just the other day one of my former students told me he had taken to heart my advice to make friends with beets.  Beets are so good for you, especially your liver.  I used to hate them too, but I told the class that you can decide to change what you like in the food department.  The French are famous for giving their children 10-20 tastes of something new without expectation so that their palates can develop a familiarity with the new food.  Having learned this I started eating a little bit of beets over time.  Grated raw beets and apples with balsamic and olive oil became a new favorite.  Also, scrubbing, making into wedges, coating in olive oil and salt to spread on a pan and roast in the oven for about an hour makes beets delicious.  Even steamed and then just served with olive oil and balsamic drizzle is pretty good.  Well, anyway, the graduate thanked me for the tip because now he eats them all the time.  That was pretty gratifying, maybe someone is listening to me!!

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Baby Kale Harvest

Posted on April 1, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Plants |

Baby Kale HarvestOne of the benefits to starting a whole bunch of baby kale plants early is that you can actually start to enjoy eating them!  Here is my big bowl of baby kale leaves ready to add to my salad.  They are so tender and delicious!

I do think I missed my calling.  I could be very happy as a farmer.

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Salmon Avocado Salad

Posted on March 28, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , |

Salmon Avocado SaladI’ve been inspired by all manner of canned fish lately.  I have just gotten to know sardines, for instance.  This was a can of Sockeye Salmon – Red Salmon, the can said, that I splurged on.  It was definitely a deeper red color and more flavorful than the less expensive canned salmon.  This can was about $8, but we got two delicious and healthy meals out of it.

1 can red salmon
2 Tablespoons (or so) mayonnaise
1/8  Cup finely chopped onion
1/4 Cup finely chopped red or orange pepper
S+P to taste

Can be served on 1/2 avocado for a grain-free meal.  Could also be nice on crackers, as lettuce/cabbage wraps, or toast.

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Beef Short Ribs Made Simple

Posted on March 21, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Beef Short Ribs Made SimpleI found 2 packages of these beef short ribs in my mixed box from Dominion Valley Farm in the freezer.  I’ve never seen those in there before.  I’ve never cooked ribs before.  What to do with them?

I decided to thaw them in water for a few hours, dry with paper towels, sprinkle with worcestershire sauce, salt/pepper and rub with Penzey’s Roast Beef Seasoning.  Then I placed them in the crockpot with carrots, potatoes, and cippolini onions on high for 6 hours.

Wow.  Melt-in-your-mouth beefy goodness!  Biggest surprise?  Cippolini onions!  Another revelation – I’ll be making these as a vegetable all by themselves – they were so sweet and yummy!

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